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Internal Clock

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by Jennifer Brookes

When first learning of Calgi being a small village in the mountains I imagined people walking everywhere (older people of course). I imagined tall trees and small buildings – perhaps even hut-like structures based on yesteryear (perhaps my time in Ireland influenced my impression of what “old world” means). However, when we came into Calgi on the bus I was overwhelmed by four-story buildings (built connected to each other) and cars zipping past me. (They actually drive cars?)

I felt overwhelmed my first night in town. I looked at the cobblestone “streets” lacking any sidewalks and wondered how I would ever get from place to place while dodging cars, motorcycles and mopeds. However, in the seven days we’ve been here I’ve yet to see one accident. It seems the chaos is anticipated and even accepted. But this is a discussion for another journal entry.

But what has really disabled me – completely frazzling my nerves – and my whole system really, has been the hours kept. Many days I’m up at 6:00 in the morning to get ready and cook breakfast (There is no possible way to get a large breakfast in Italy – but that is a conversation for another journal entry) then go to classes. Actual classroom classes last until 1pm (lunch time – another issue to overcome to a body used to eating around noon) where we are free to take pictures, mingle with the people and gain insight into possible stories. Of course, from around 1:00 to 3:00 (or 4:00 or 5:00 depending on the business) most businesses are closed for Pausa (break). During this time business owners take care of personal business, or perhaps just take a nap. The piazza(center of town) doesn’t truly come alive until early evening. Dinner doesn’t start until around 8:00pm or later and goes on for at least two hours. By 10:00pm I’m wiped however it seems as if this little town is just getting it’s second wind. People sit around the piazza, eating gelato (ice cream), drinking coffee and simply communing. The idea of going to bed by 10:00 is ridiculous – why would anyone sleep so early. So, to truly gain insight into the culture a person would need to stay up visiting – at least until midnight if not later.

As the days wear on so do I. My time clock is past shaken – it is completely broken. I force myself to bed by 11:00 so I am not a zombie in class and I can think beyond my first name. Many of my classmates appear to jump into the late hours and these are the ones who seem most integrated with the culture – and also the ones who appear to be asleep on their feet.


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